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The energy giant whose boss was poisoned with cyanide is looking for a new CEO — a role described as ‘impossible’ and the ‘worst job in global energy’

Shadow of Eskom's CEOSouth Africa’s energy giant Eskom is recruiting for a new chief executive officer.


  • South Africa’s energy giant Eskom has published a job advert for a new chief executive officer. 
  • Eskom’s current CEO was poisoned with cyanide in December after submitting his resignation. 
  • The role was described by current CEO Andre de Ruyter as “impossible.”

South Africa’s biggest energy provider Eskom has just listed a job ad for a new CEO after its current boss was poisoned with cyanide in December, just days after resigning.

The job ad — published on Eskom’s website — is for a group chief executive who will be “responsible for strategic leadership and financial sustainability of the organisation.”

It requires “at least 15 to 20 years’ senior management experience at executive committee level, ideally within emerging markets.” 

The company is looking for a leader with “unquestionable integrity and ethics,” who is “disciplined” and able to “take calculated risks and make tough decisions.”

The ad makes no specific mention of the strange circumstances in which the company’s current CEO, Andre De Ruyter, announced his departure from the role. De Ruyter was poisoned when cyanide was slipped into his coffee in December, just after he had tendered his resignation.

After drinking the coffee in his office, De Ruyter became weak, vomited, and then collapsed, EE Business Intelligence reported first. He was rushed to a doctor by his security detail and treated for cyanide poisoning. 

De Ruyter’s resignation came amid a battle with South Africa’s political leaders over continued issues with the country’s energy supplies and widespread corruption in the sector.

De Ruyter has challenged corruption and criminality in the energy sector saying that Eskom has fallen victim to theft by criminal gangs, in an interview with the Financial Times in October

These thefts have had a major impact on available energy in South Africa which had 188 days of blackouts in 2022, according to Bloomberg.  

De Ruyter has additionally clashed with the country’s government and in December South Africa’s energy minister Gwede Mantashe accused Eskom of “actively agitating for the overthrow of the state.” 

Being Eskom’s CEO is something of a tricky job, with the need to fight corruption and handle tricky relations with the government.

De Ruyter was the 13th Eskom boss since 2000. The role was described by Bloomberg as the “worst job in global energy,” while South African publication BusinessTech called it “the worst job in South Africa.”

De Ruyter himself called the job “impossible” after he resigned.

“The job of Eskom group chief executive in its current configuration is impossible,” he told news outlet News24.

“There is a lack of support and when this became clear to me, it became fundamentally untenable (to continue) given the repeated attacks on me and Eskom’s strategy by senior members of government.”

Read the original article on Business Insider